® magazine Senior Design Editor Kevin Boyle has been incorporating veneer into his furniture and gift projects for more than 30 years, and using a lot of different tools during that time for applying it. These are his favorites.
(Shown above) Thomas 1⁄20 -hp diaphragm vacuum pump
no. 5Z346, $303
It doesn't take a large pump to do the job, just one that can evacuate the air from the bag before the glue starts to set. This pump runs quietly while creating a maximum 22" Hg. You'll need to add a male-threaded 1⁄4 " hose-barb fitting and 4–5' of 1⁄4 "-ID rubber tubing, available at hardware stores.
(Shown above) VS Elite polyurethane vacuum bag
- 2×9', no. elitebg2×9, $171
- I really like the flexibility of a polyurethane bag versus a lower-priced vinyl bag because it conforms better to workpieces. This bag (open at both ends) comes with a built-in valve and one end closure; I recommend buying another closure (no. sb-closure, $13). This size bag works for most projects, but you can buy larger and thicker bags if needed.
- Veneer Supplies
(Shown above) Lock-on vacuum connector and brass connector adapter fitting
Pax veneer saw
Veneer glue roller
Makita 36-volt tracksaw
Metabo HPT plunges into the cordless-router market
no. M3612DA, $400
With battery-powered routers becoming almost as common as cordless drills these days, this 36-volt model impressed me as the first cordless dedicated plunge router. On one charge, I used it all weekend building a linen cabinet (as well as making various testing cuts), and it never bogged down, even when I routed 1⁄2 "-deep grooves in dense white oak. I like the variable-speed range (11,000–25,000 rpm), letting me set the appropriate motor speed for each bit.
This router plunges just a whisker less than 2", sufficient for nearly any woodworking task. Two of the three turret stops offer adjustment, and the depth-rod lock held reliably when I made multiple plunges to the same depth. I found the plunge-lock lever clumsy to operate, but it held fast when secured.
You pay a premium for the cordless convenience, but Metabo HPT increases the value by including a bunch of handy accessories: 1⁄4 " and 1⁄2 " collets, an edge guide, six two-piece guide bushings, a guide-bushing adapter for the subbase, a dust-collection hood, a nice canvas bag with zippered pockets for the accessories, and, of course, the battery and charger.
—Tested by Bob Hunter, Tools Editor
Lift less with this pivoting panel cart
no. 167545, $210
The older I get, the harder it becomes to manhandle heavy sheet goods onto the tablesaw or workbench. So I truly appreciate how this cart takes over the brunt of the heavy lifting: I only have to load sheets onto its sturdy hooks, and then tilt the rack to slide the sheets onto a horizontal worksurface, typically my tablesaw or workbench. With 9" of vertical adjustment, you should be able to easily match most any surface in your shop; maximum height is 45". And with two 4" locking swivel casters, I never have to worry about the cart scooting away from me. I also appreciate the cart's small footprint (slightly more than 18×18"), which stores small and goes through narrow doors easily.
—Tested by Craig Ruegsegger, Deputy Editor
Woodcraft adds a twist with new F-style clamps
WoodRiver Quick Twist bar clamps, 6" no. 176124, $25; 12" no. 176125, $27; 18" no. 176126, $30
These clamps center the handles around the bars, providing knuckle room in tight quarters. The jaws measure 33⁄8 " tall and have plastic face pads to prevent workpiece damage. Woodcraft says these clamps can achieve a maximum of 330 pounds of clamping force.
Organize your drills and accessories
Cordless drill station, no. CDS, $170
This powder-coated-steel rack stores cordless drills, chargers, and accessories in a compact 9×9×231⁄2 " size. In addition to the slots for four drill/drivers, you get cutouts for charger cords and small hand tools, such as screwdrivers and pliers, and four small drawers for storing fasteners and accessories.